As it moves through the upper canopy of the forest, the crowned sifaka searches for buds, unripe fruits and mature leaves on which to feed (2). The crowned sifaka uses its long, powerful legs to propel itself between trees, whilst keeping its body upright; this highly specialised method of locomotion, known as vertical clinging and leaping, is characteristic of all sifakas (4). While sifakas do not come down to the ground to drink, gaining the water they require from their diet and dew instead (4), the crowned sifaka can occasionally be seen on the forest floor, consuming soil (2). This peculiar feeding behaviour is hypothesised to provide vital nutrients, or to aid neutralisation of poisons that accumulate from the sifaka’s regular diet (2).
Typically, the crowned sifaka spends 30 to 40 percent of its day foraging, while the rest of the day is spent resting, grooming, and interacting socially with other members of the group. At night fall, a tall tree located close to a major river is selected to sleep in (2).
Living in groups of two to eight individuals, the crowned sifaka travels an average of 600 metres each day as it forages (2). Each small group of crowned sifakas, which have variable age and sex composition, aggressively defend home ranges covering 1.2 to 1.5 hectares (2). Although, within this range, the majority of the group’s time is spent in a small core area of just 0.3 hectares (2).